Thursday, February 26, 2009

Freiberg to Frankfurt

Completing our loop, we headed back to Frankfurt – our final stop before flying back to the states. We got into Frankfurt hauptbahnhof (main train station) at about 11am, and our friends Cordula and Neils were waiting for us. Cordula is the sister of the first German exchange student my family hosted in Minnesota. Neils is her husband, who I had heard about but never actually met until today. They live in Goettingen, but had come to Frankfurt for the day to see us. The four of us (Jeff, Cordula, Neils, and me) then met up with Sabrina and Jesse. Sabrina is Cordula’s sister, who stayed with us in Minnesota, and Jesse is her girlfriend. They’re living in a town somewhat near Frankfurt, and had also come in just to visit us.
The six of us wandered around the city, though the weather wasn’t spectacular. There was actually a Carnival parade going on. Lots of crazy floats throwing German candy, and many more of those adult marching bands.
We had lunch at a steak place, were the food was good, and we could all chat together. It’d been four years since I’d seen Cordula, more since I’d seen Sabrina, and I’d never met Neils or Jesse, so there was a lot to catch up on.

After lunch we walked around a bit more and stopped for a cup of coffee (Germany has real coffee – not just espresso!). In the late afternoon, they all headed out, since they had long drives to get home.

Jeff and I walked around for a while longer after that, but since it was Sunday, almost everything was closed. We met up with Diana and her boyfriend, Marco, later in the evening. We were going to stay with Diana, but since her boyfriend was consulting for a nearby hotel, he was able to arrange a nice room there instead. It was very nice of them to do that – and nice for Jeff and I to have a little space to collect our things and re-pack before flying home.

Diana and Marco had thought we might be interested in a more traditional German experience, especially Jeff, who had never been to Frankfurt. So they took us to “Adolf Wagner’s.” It’s an apfelwein (apple wine) maker and restaurant. The tables are family style – with long benches so lots of people sit together. We ended up sitting with about four older German people, who had begun their apple-wine drinking before we arrived.
It was sooo much fun! Since it was carnival, the place was all decorated, and there were old folk songs playing. All the German people were singing along. We had come for the apfelwein and atmosphere, but decided to stay for dinner, since they had such a wide variety of traditional German food. I ordered some kind of pork (it looked kind of like a giant, thick piece of bacon) with fried onions, sauerkraut and potatoes. It tasted incredible. Jeff had slices of beef and potatoes with gruene sauce (green sauce), which is a specialty in Frankfurt. His food was also very tasty. So much so, that I have resolved to try to cook a German meal at my house sometime soon. Diana and Marco got us one of the Adolf Wagner pitchers (bebeln) to take home, and Jeff and I bought a couple bottles of apfelwein, so we’ll be all set for our German night in the USA.
After Adolf Wagners, Marco and Diana took us on a drive through Alt Sachsen Platz (Old Saxony Place). It is a part of town with small pedestrian cobble-stone walkways lined with lots of tiny pubs. It was a really cute area. Now the pubs are all different nationalities – German, Spanish, Turkish, Asian, etc., but before it used to be all traditional German places.
From there, we headed to a more trendy bar, where we relaxed and chatted into the night. Diana and I had been lucky to live near each other a number of times – she lived with my family during the high school exchange, and I lived with hers. I visited her a second time a year later, staying with her family again. While I was in college, Diana moved to a town just north of Boston, working as an oper (nanny), so I was able to see her fairly often then, too. It was great to see her again and chat about what we’re both doing now.

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